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College of Nursing

Faculty and Staff

Laura C.  Hein, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Professor
College of Nursing

Phone: 803-777-7683
Fax: 803-777-3771

College of Nursing
University of South Carolina
1601 Greene Street, Room 625
Columbia, SC 29208-4001
United States



Dr. Hein is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She completed a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Health Disparities in Underserved Populations, at the University of Illinois, Chicago, College of Nursing.  She received her PhD and her MSN-FNP from Vanderbilt University.  Her BA in psychology was completed at The University of Akron.


Dr. Hein teaches Nursing 700 Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations of Nursing; NURS 791 – Seminar in Clinical Nursing Research and; Nursing 801 – Theory Analysis in Nursing Science.

Research (Concept Areas)

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Health Disparities and Health Policy
  • Empowerment
  • Resilience
  • Violence/ Victimization

Dr. Hein is a leading scholar on LGBT health in South Carolina, and is nationally and internationally recognized. She was the initiator and primary author of the first nursing White Paper denouncing reparative therapy, which was adopted as policy by the International Society of PsychiatricMental Health Nurses (ISPN) in 2009. She was the first recipient of the ISPN Diversity Award for contributions to LGBT health. In 2013 she received the Palmetto Gold Award from the SC Nurses Foundation for excellence in nursing, specifically for educating students about LGBT health. She was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing in 2014. Her work has been cited within and outside of nursing. Dr. Hein was invited to the White House by HHS Secretary Sebelius, for a briefing of 150 LGBT leaders on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and returned in 2014 for a follow-up briefing. 

Dr. Hein serves on the Advisory Board of the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center in Columbia and is the fifth nurse to ever serve on the Board of Directors of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality in its 35 year history. During her tenure, the board of GLMA submitted amicus briefs influencing appellate and U.S. Supreme Court decisions, regarding law and policy related to LGBT health.


Dr. Hein’s dissemination activities have included presentations at local, regional, national and international professional conferences as well as presentation of findings to collaborating agencies and community stakeholders. Dr. Hein’s work on the Board of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality has been interprofessional and collaborative. GLMA’s work on behalf of LGBT health promotion has influenced federal, state and administrative law.

Professional Service

Leadership history
American Academy of Nursing - LGBT Expert Panel (2014-present)
National League for Nursing – Diversity Strategic Action Group (2014)
International Society for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses
Research Council Chairman (2010-2013)
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality
             Vice President – External Affairs (2015-present)
             Board of Directors (2012-present) 

Professional Practice

ER practice as an RN and NP (levels I to III, rural/ urban, public and private).

Research Studies (Selected)

  • Support groups and the sexual orientations - together or separate? The consumer perspective. Hein –PI. USC Office of the Provost – Clinical Incentive Grant - $14k. 4/12-5/13.
  • Where Did you Sleep Last Night? -  Survival Strategies of Female Homeless Adolescents. Hein - PI. Lesbian Health fund - $8k.  11/07-6/10.
  • Transitions from Homelessness: LGBT Adolescents.  NINR 1T32NR007964-01 -$2k. Hein - Study PI; Dancy - T32 PI.  4/07-7/07
  • Survival Among Male Homeless Adolescents. Hein - PI. Sigma Theta Tau, Iota.  $2k. 2005.

Publications (Selected)

AAN LGBT Expert Panel.  (2015). Reparative Therapy Position Statement. Nursing Outlook, 63(3), 368-369.

Brief of Amici Curiae. GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality and the American Academy of Nursing Concerning the Immutability of Sexual Orientation in Support of Petitioners.  James Obergefell, et al., Petitioners v. Richard Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health et al., No. Nos. 14-556, 14-562, 14-571 and 14-574  (United States Supreme Court, 2015). {1 of 3 GLMA Board members who reviewed and updated the scientific background section of the brief (2 MD’s and Dr. Hein). Additionally, 1 of 2 nurses on GLMA’s Board, both of whom are also in the American Academy of Nursing. Actively lobbied for AAN to sign onto this brief. This is the first time the AAN has signed onto a brief in support of LGBT rights.}

Hein, L. C., & Scharer, K. M. (2015). A modern history of psychiatric-mental health nursing. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 29, 49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.apnu.2014.10.003. 

Hein, L. C., & Levitt, N. (2014). Caring for transgender patients. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!, 12(6), 28-36. doi:10.1097/01.NME.0000454745.49841.76. {Awarded the Bronze Award for “Best Feature Article” by the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors.}

Hein, L. C. & Scharer, K. M. (2013). Who Cares If It's a Hate Crime?   LGBT Hate Crimes - Mental Health Implications. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 49(2), 84-93.   Early View 12 Sept. 2012. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6163.2012.00354.x.

Damas, T., Hein, L.C., Powell, L. C., and Dundon, E. (2012). Child & Adolescent Sexual Development and Sexual Identity Issues. (E. Yearwood, G. Pearson, & J. Newland, Eds.) Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health: A Resource for Advanced Practice Psychiatric and Primary Care Practitioners in Nursing (peer reviewed). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. Chapter 5.

Hein, L. C. & Berger, K. C. Commentary. Gender Incongruence in Children: Let’s Think This Through. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing. In Press.

Hein, L. C. (2011). Survival Strategies of Male Homeless Adolescents Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 17(4), 274-282.First published on May 4, 2011 as doi:10.1177/1078390311407913.

Hein, L. C. (2010). Where did you sleep last night? Homeless male adolescents: Gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual compared. [Electronic Version]. Southern Online Journal of Nursing Research, 10, Article 9 from Available February 17, 2010.

Hein, L. C. & Matthews, A. K. (2010). Reparative therapy: The adolescent, the psych nurse and the issues. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 23(1), 29-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6171.2009.00214.x   [Accepted 5/18/08. In print Feb. 2010].

Hein, L. C., Powell, L., & The ISPN Diversity and Equity Committee. (2009). International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses Position Statement on Reparative Therapy. Electronic Publication – ISPN. Available at:   Accepted by ISPN Board of Directors 1/12/09.


Hein, L. C. (2014, Sept. 11). LGBT Hate Crimes in South Carolina. Contributed Oral Presentation. GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality. Baltimore, MD. 

Hein, L. C. & Scharer, K.  (2014, March 29). The Composition of Support Groups in the LGBT Community – Input from Consumers. Contributed oral presentation. International Society of Psychiatric/ Mental Health Nurses. Greenville, SC.

Tavakoli, A., Culley, J., Hein, L. C., Frazier, B. & Williams, A. (2013, October 20-23). Using SAS to Examine Social Networking Difference between Faculty and Students. Poster Presentation. SouthEast SAS Users Group Conference. St. Pete Beach, FL.

Hein, L. C. (2013, September 19). Support Groups in the LGBT community - What's the Best Make-up? The Consumer Perspective. Poster Presentation. 2013 Annual Conference of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. Denver, CO.

Hein, L. C. (2013, April 19). Support Groups and the LGBT Sexual Orientations - Together or Separate? The Consumer Perspective. 2013 International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN) Conference. San Antonio, Texas.

Frazier, D. Culley, JM, & Hein, L. (2012, April 20). Nursing Education and Social Media Policies. Discovery day at the University of South Carolina. Columbia, SC.